GMOs: Going beyond the polarizing rhetoric

McKay Jenkins
McKay Jenkins, English
This week’s episode of Campus Voices features McKay Jenkins, the Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, Journalism, and Environmental Humanities at the University.

Professor Jenkins spoke with host Rich Campbell about his latest book Food Fight: GMOs and the Future of the American Diet. The book is the result of his research and on location reporting on many aspects of the GMO (genetically modified organism) debate. In the book, Jenkins goes beyond the polarizing pro- and anti-GMO rhetoric to examine the issues beneath the surface.

Jenkins talked with us about the safety and positive and negative uses of GMOs, the role of industrial farming, the politics surrounding GMOs, and the impact agricultural experience has on his students. Jenkins also discussed how GMOs are affecting three different Hawaiian islands — Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island — and what he found on his travels there.

Regarding GMOs and industrial farming, the problem, says Jenkins, is not so much the GMOs themselves as the massive amounts of chemicals being used in conjunction with GMO agriculture, and how those chemicals affect our health and environment. He also analyzes the implications of the dominance of corn and soy GMOs on the American food supply.

The Interview

McKay Jenkins, recorded on May 22, 2017. First aired on June 8, 2017.
57.6 MB

About our guest

McKay Jenkins is a journalist, nonfiction writer, and scholar of American studies, specializing in environmental studies and the history, journalism, and literature of race relations and social justice. The Cornelius Tilghman Professor of English, Journalism, and Environmental Humanities, he has been writing about people and the natural world for 25 years. (Source: UD English Dept. website)

Learn more

Rich Campbell: producer, host, audio engineer, audio editor, web page author
Richard Gordon: producer, web page editor
Photos courtesy of
UDaily: McKay Jenkins and Evan Krape